The Grey Roost
Emma Lynn & Emma TooSometime in 2008, we were informed that my husband would be deploying with his National Guard Unit early 2009.
While we realized the separation would be hard on us, We also knew it would be hard for our little Grey parrot, Emma Lynn.
Emma Lynn is a very well rounded Grey, and has not grown up to gravitate to one person as so many Greys are known to do.
She has been given equal love by both parents, and her outgoing personality reflects that.
I am known as the caregiver. I clean cages, serve food, offer toys and maintain health regimens. George on the other hand is nothing but interaction, tickles and fun.
Emmaís most favorite time of the day, is right before bed. She will stop at nothing to have a few minutes with her daddy before the house falls silent for the night. If Emma is not given this opportunity, she screams, and twitches. She will try to fly and follow him. Problem being, she is Special-abled and cannot fly. She has a twisted neck from birth.
The concern of how to keep Emma happy and not to forget her daddy while he is on his tour of duty weighed heavy on my mind. While listening to a show featuring my friend and mentor on Greys, Maggie Wright, George came up with a question that surprised me. He wanted to know what we should do to keep Emma calm during his deployment. Maggie suggested George call home often and ďtalkĒ with Emma. While that question was answered, it also brought up something that did not occur to me. That was when I realized George was also going to have separation issues. Imagine that.
George had not been much of bird person before meeting me. While he has had birds prior, and we shared our home with several, no being has loved him like Emma has.
I think George learned unconditional love and devotion from this little tiny ball of grey and red. So now, my thoughts were twofold. How to keep Emma happy, and how to make George feel at home while away.
While up in the attic, looking for Holiday decorations, I found a stuffed African Grey toy, that I had purchased years prior. I had forgotten about this toy since it had been packed away for so long.
Thatís when the idea hit me. This toy, now named Emma Too was going to travel with George on his tour. He would chronicle the adventures with pictures, and I would write about Emma Lynnís adventures at home.
The Story of Emma Lynn and Emma too is just taking flight. We have a year to build on this storyline, and I hope you will check back often to see where we all stand.
Please keep my husband, our son (serving in Afghanistan) and all our troops in your thoughts and prayers. May they all return home safe.
Emma Lynn and Emma Too hanging out on her play gym. She is used to Emma Too as we introduced them prior to the deployment.
Stirling on the other hand, wasnít too thrilled.
After a short goodbye, Emma Too made her way to George's footlocker which was ready to ship out.......
Destination: Ft Sill, Oklahoma.
2-5-09: Emma Too has arrived at Ft Sill. Seems her new job for now, is to block the light from coming in to George's room from the neighboring barracks, so he can sleep.
Meanwhile, at home....Emma Lynn was adjusting to life with without George. The first few days were a bit tough. Emma Lynn has taken her daddy's advice to seriously when he told her that no one is to lay on his side of the bed while he is away. Her aunt Chrissy stayed the night daddy was deployed to cheer me up. We figured we would see what Emma Lynn would do if offered a place to snuggle with someone other than daddy. Emma Lynn was VERY confused why daddy looked SOOOO different, but figured that any cave(under the blankets) is better than none. She snuggled next to Chrissy but never took her eyes off her. First time Chrissy moved, Emma Lynn puffed up twice her size, came running out from under the blankets, mouth open, wings up, and eyes pinned. Emma Lynn bit Chrissy in the belly. We laughed, knowing Emma was confused, and scared. All was forgiven. No skin broken.
I then scooted Emma Lynn over to my side of the bed, and lifted up the blankets for her to snuggle. She didnít go very far under the blanket, and kept her eye on Chrissy. Each time Chrissy moved, Emma Lynn would charge out from under the blanket, in full display, to protect her daddy's spot. She would stop short of Chrissy by an inch each time, and then run back to me.
Last night, George left a message on my cell. I played it on speaker so Emma Lynn could hear him. She came running across her nite nite cage, to the edge,eyes dilated, and mumbling (she doesnt talk) to her daddy's recording. She definitely could tell it was him, without a doubt.
A few days later, I purchased a Java tree for our room, so Emma Lynn could be on the video camera to see her daddy if the opportunity was there. I was surprised to see that Sydney was more interested in where the sound of George's voice was coming from.
Emma had a habit of sitting on the edge of the bed each night, waiting for her daddy to come into the room. This continued for several days after his departure.
Eventually, after several tumbles off the bed, and many days, she realized, he simply wasn't coming to bed.
Back at Ft Sill, Emma Too didnt see to much action due to George settling into "Army" Life. His days were long, and contact was limited. Transitioning from Citizen to Soldier is daunting in itself. Emma Too was not alone however, she became friends with a chameleon while there. You can almost see the smile on their faces.
Emma Too on the Flightline, looking over her daddy's choppers.
When our conversations were over, she would go back to his side of the bed and wait. I understood her confusion and her feelings. I was waiting for him to come home too.
As George's schedule lightened up, his Unit fine tuned, and duties delegated, he was allowed some R&R. Our son and Grandkids went to visit George and Emma Too. The weather was not the best and activities limited, but Emma Too went along for the fun.
Sarah and Emma Too
After a short visit with family, it was back to the mission. Emma Too was ready for her next stop....Kuwait